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Computer Management--Proactive Management

November 1999
Implementing computer management systems arm commercial printers with a key to unlocking print production bottlenecks—on and off the Internet.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


Any printer will report that a breakdown in the communication process in any phase of the print production cycle can be debilitating. Printers, quite simply, do not have the luxury of easily absorbing workflow bottlenecks—from the moment a purchase order comes in, through the prepress and printing processes, to the second the product is lifted off the finishing room floor for shipment and the customer, promptly, is billed for services rendered.

Good news: There are a host of fine technology companies offering computer management solutions, including: AHP Systems, Franklin Estimating, Hagen, Logic, Meta Communications, Micro Ink, PowerQuote, Primac, Printers Software, Professional Systems, Programmed Solutions, Prograph, Tailored Solutions and others.

Even better news: Computer management systems are getting smarter, armed with more intrinsic features designed to make print estimates, order confirmations, change orders, job status updates and overall job tracking and trafficking more predictable and, even better, controllable. These solutions are also pinpointing the Internet, or rather, the Internet is pinpointing them.

One Internet case in point is Noosh's recent announcement that it has added new system capabilities to the overall functionality of its Web-based print management service.

The new features are designed to expand the reach of the Noosh service and help customers streamline their workflow by allowing them to track prepress and direct mail jobs. Further extending the capabilities of the site, however, will be production management capabilities from Logic Associates, Hagen Systems and Programmed Solutions.

Combining the Internet with proven computer management systems the likes of this trio, and other computer management and job ticketing software powers, gives a distinct advantage to Noosh and similar Internet print management services.

A few questions arise . . .

  • What do commercial printers think of the Internet—and the vast adoption of computer management systems at present?

  • What systems are commercial printers using to track print orders and job performance?

  • How are printing executives eliminating bottlenecks in production, thanks to investments in the latest upgrades to the existing gamut of computer management software solutions?


See for yourself . . .

CHALLENGE PRINTING
Eden Prairie, MN
The Problem: Sean Condon, estimating/planning supervisor at Challenge Printing, a commercial operation that serves Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding areas, reports that Challenge has operated a printing management system for many years, but last year it purchased a new one. The need for a new, more modern system was driven by several key factors: The system that Challenge had at the time was often under-utilized due to its limited capabilities, and very often alternative workflows were created around the system because the system failed to meet Challenge's needs. Also, the older system was basically used to generate estimates and job numbers to facilitate data collection, job costing, invoicing and accounting functions. Job tickets and other forms of print production communications were either too basic or nonexistent.


 

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